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Pollution issue back in focus as Lanka's Lakmal throws up on Ferozeshah Kotla field

The Tribune 2017-12-05 14:42:12

Lakmal had bowled only three overs when he was seen vomiting on the field.

The controversial issue of air pollution flared up again in the third and final Test between India and Sri Lanka, with the visiting seamer Suranga Lakmal going off the ground after throwing up here on Tuesday.

After the visitors were bowled out for 373 in their first innings on the fourth day, they came out fielding wearing anti-pollution masks.

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Lakmal had bowled only three overs when he was seen vomiting on the field, prompting the physio to run to the field. After consultation, the pacer went off the ground.

Earlier on Sunday, the second session was marred by interruptions owing to complaints of air pollution.

Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas said three cricketers--Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage and Dhananjay de Silva--had trouble breathing and vomited.

Meanwhile, the BCCI's rotation policy might do what Sri Lankan team's complaints of poor air quality could not-- keep international cricket away from Delhi at least till 2020.

Delhi's viability as an international sports venue has been called into question after Sri Lankan players complained of breathing problems due to smog and continued to wear anti-pollution masks in the ongoing Test against India here.

"The BCCI is pitching for their exclusive home season slot in February-March every year. They will only get that slot in February-March 2020 as per the new Future Tours Programme (FTP).

Therefore, Kotla may or may not be in line for a Test match before 2020," said a senior BCCI official.

"As per the rotation policy, Kotla has now got its Test match and in November it got an ODI. Their turn will not come next year as India will perhaps have at the most one full-fledged series," he said.

"There are other venues waiting for their turn. Similarly in 2019, when the fresh FTP starts, it will take some time for Kotla to get another game," he added.

The Sri Lankan grievance came close on the heels of the furore that preceded last month's Delhi Half Marathon, which took place despite high pollution levels and an appeal by the Indian Medical Association to cancel the event.

The second day's play in the ongoing match was halted for 26 minutes after the Sri Lankans complained of breathing problems forcing Indian captain Virat Kohli to declare the innings at 536/7.

The Indian team, however, has taken the conditions in their stride with pacer Mohammed Shami casually stating that they are "used to suffering" and didn't want to make a big deal of it.

BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary, during a media conference on Monday, admitted that scheduling Test matches in New Delhi during this time of the year would come up for discussion.

However, another BCCI official observed that the Board would be relieved for the time being as Kotla had had its share of matches for the time being.

"Now what will be the environmental condition in 2020 can't be predicted in 2017. So if Kotla doesn't get a match, it will be purely because of rotation," the official said.

Today, the Lankan players wore N95 masks, required to protect the lungs from the poor air quality that has plagued the national capital for years now.